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17 October 2019 21:50

Freddie Jones Emmerdale Sandy Thomas

Leah had been in the public eye for 30 years (Picture: Ken McKay/ITV/REX) It was announced yesterday, 16 October, that former Emmerdale star Leah Bracknell had died, three years after being diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. The actress, who starred as Zoe Tate from 1989 to 2005 on the ITV soap, had bravely documented and spoken about her battle with disease since announcing her diagnosis in October 2016. In an official statement released yesterday afternoon, Leah's manager confirmed that the star had passed away in September. 'It is with the deepest sadness that Leah Bracknell's family confirm that Leah passed away in September, three years after her diagnosis with stage four lung cancer,' said her manager. 'They would like to thank all the public for their support and generosity which contributed to the extension and quality of her life over the past three years.

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Was Leah Bracknell married and who are her daughters as star dies at 55

Leah continued to embrace life and faced her illness with positivity. Many aspects of her journey can be found on her blog.' Leah started her blog, Something Beginning With C, in November 2017 to document her experiences with the disease. To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Talking in February 2019 on Loose Women, she said she had a positive outlook on life and was not fearful despite being diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Her approach to life and battling the disease won the actress legions of supporters and endless praise from inspired viewers and fans. A mother of two, Leah was also known for her work teaching at the British School of Yoga and for creating her own line of jewellery as well as her iconic role as the first lesbian character in a British soap. Was Leah Bracknell married and who is her husband? Leah reportedly got married to her long-term partner Jez Hughes in March 2017, following the news her cancer treatment had failed. While the exact date of their wedding is unconfirmed, the pair did wed, with Leah referring to her 'husband' in posts on her blog. Leah and Jez, a 44-year-old author, had been together for 13 years before they got married. The couple kept their nuptials quiet and according to The Mirror wed in a secret, low key registry office ceremony in Horsham, Sussex two years ago. Jez Hughes and Leah Bracknell (Picture: Facebook/Jez Hughes) On living with lung cancer, Leah wrote in her blog in February: 'I do not accept this is my "new normal". I look forward to better days, and looking Jez in the eye and seeing my husband, and seeing him looking back at his wife.' Advertisement Who are Leah Bracknell's daughters? Leah has two grown-up daughters called Lily, who is 28 and Maya, who is 24. Not much is known about Leah's children as the actress chose to keep their lives very much out of the public eye. In 2016, Leah recalled to the Daily Mail the heartbreaking moment she had to tell her daughters about her diagnosis. 'Any mother will know how I felt,' she said. 'It's the worst thing you can imagine having to tell those closest to you, something like this. trying to find the words. It's the worst thing I've had to do…' She added: 'I think it's almost worse for those close to you because they're trying to look after and protect the person who's poorly, not just physically, but emotionally.' In their official statement, released through Leah's manager, the actress's family have asked for privacy 'at this very sad time'. MORE: Remembering Zoe Tate's best Emmerdale moments as actress Leah Bracknell dies MORE: Zoe Tate was an Emmerdale and LGBTQ+ icon and Leah Bracknell was inspirationally superhuman Advertisement Advertisement